Tigers U16s are into the second round of the Cup after a solid 65 – 50 win away to rivals Bristol Academy Flyers.
For the second time this month co-captain Dom Hinchliffe lit up the scoring charts with 23 points, which included two three pointers. Co-captain Ben Hayes added 14 while Spencer Gormley continued his near miraculous return with nine points, including two for four from beyond the arc.
For the first time this season the boys jumped all over their opponents from the tip and raced to a 17 – 6 lead after the first quarter. Running after every turnover and rebound Tigers ran like a thoroughbred horse galloping along the stretch.
Though spurred to keep attacking as they did in the first period, Tigers slowed their pace and the hosts began to scratch their way back into the game. The visitors' 11 point lead after the initial quarter shrank to single digits at halftime.
Flyers came out reinvigorated in the third quarter and Taunton stumbled on all fronts, but particularly on the defensive end where the hosts were able to penetrate with little effort and finish or get fouled. While only allowing the opposition 18 points in the first half, Tigers surrendered 21 in the third period alone.
Leading by just four going into the final quarter, the boys recommitted to their running game and team defence and that allowed Taunton to start quickly and eventually knock the wind out of any further comeback from the Flyers.
Tigers dressed and played six rookies for the game and they all got a good taste of the higher intensity of U16s Cup play. The game also saw new assistant coach Alastair Hinchliffe debut on the Taunton bench.
Coach Mark Crncich said,
“We got out to the kind of start I knew we are capable of and that is not always easy to do away from home. However, we let what seemed to be a run-away effect our mental focus. We stopped running with purpose but more importantly we started playing individual defence and not team defence. Once we were able to regain our focus and concentrate on the defensive aspects of the game, we played much better and hence achieved the result.”
Tigers now have a home game against Premier team Plymouth Marjon on November 13 in the second round of the Cup. Next up is the undefeated conference leaders Arden Griffins at the Dome this Saturday, October 29, tip-off at 1:15.